Skin cancer groups join together to commend national recommendation for latest melanoma treatments
Group urges provinces to take quick action for patients with deadly form of skin cancer
VANCOUVER, BC, March 30, 2012 /CNW/ - National skin cancer groups have come together to commend pCODR (pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review), for recognizing the clinical value of the newest treatments for melanoma. Joining the Save Your Skin Foundation are the Alberta Society of Melanoma, The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance.
"This news is the hope the melanoma community has been waiting on for years," said Kathy Barnard, founder of Save Your Skin Foundation and a melanoma patient herself. "Recently there have been great strides in terms of skin cancer prevention with several provinces moving to implement tanning bed legislation. It's now time to turn to treating this deadly cancer and today's announcement is a step in the right direction. We are hopeful that the provinces will continue to put emphasis on the importance of melanoma and make these two treatments available to patients as soon as possible."
In its late stages, the average life expectancy for melanoma is just six months, with a one-year survival rate of only 25 percent, making metastatic melanoma one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. An estimated 5,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 950 will die from it. Melanoma is responsible for 75 percent of the deaths associated with skin cancer.
"This is a major first step and shows that pCODR has recognized the significant progress these two treatments represent for patients," said Dr. Joël Claveau, Dermatologist at the Melanoma and Pigmented Lesions Clinic, Hospital Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. "Physicians have desperately needed new advances and it's encouraging that now we have two new options. Historically melanoma is a difficult cancer to treat and now with Yervoy and Zelboraf we have a chance to make a difference in survival for patients."
About Melanoma in Canada
Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with melanoma, with the incidence of the disease increasing faster than that of any other cancer. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. One in 74 men and 1 in 90 women are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime; 1 in 284 men and 1 in 486 women will die of it. Melanoma is clearly visible on the skin, and 90 per cent of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light, including tanning beds.
About the Save Your Skin Foundation
The Save Your Skin Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit foundation. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on: raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer - especially melanoma.
Donations go towards providing critical and timely treatments, as well as ongoing education, research, and awareness initiatives.
About the Alberta Society of Melanoma
The Alberta Society of Melanoma was founded in 1995 by dermatologist Dr. T.G. Salopek and a group of concerned patients and their families. The Alberta Society of Melanoma strives to better educate the general public about melanoma and to provide a support network for patients with melanoma.
About the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation
The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, founded in 2002 by Dr. Barry Lycka, is dedicated to the elimination of skin cancers through education, awareness, advocacy and research. It achieves this mission by delivering awareness and education programs that will help reduce the occurrence of skin cancer in Canada, advocating to restrict the use tanning beds for those under the age of 18 years and supporting the Mary Johnston Melanoma Research Fund at the Cross Cancer Institute.
About the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance
Founded in 2007, The Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA) is a by patients-for-patients, resource and community for all skin patients living with a skin conditions and disorders. As a national umbrella organization for Canadian not-for-profit patient groups and organizations that deal with skin conditions and diseases, the CSPA is an important hub of skin-health-related information in Canada. As an advocate for awareness, education, research and access to appropriate care, the CSPA represents the voice of the millions of skin patients and their families.
Executive Director, Save Your Skin Foundation
Director, Alberta Society of Melanoma
Executive Director, The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation
Media Liaison, Canadian Skin Patient Alliance